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Letter: State of the State From the Governor

(This is a letter from NYS Governor David A. Paterson to all residents of the State.)

This is a winter of reckoning. And I write to you today not only about the state of our State, but also the state of our self-government – a fragile instrument of popular will that is breaking under the will to be popular.

All too often in Albany it is easier to deny reality and demand what we cannot afford than to accept that years of living on the margins of our means would one day have to end. Cultures of addiction to spending, power or approval have doomed empires, and now they threaten the Empire State.

But I do not write you today to replay old grievances or reclaim lost ground. We are here to rebuild. Rebuild our State’s economy into a national model of ingenuity and strength. Rebuild our people’s confidence in the stability of our State. Rebuild our manufacturing base to meet the energy standards of this enlightened age. And most importantly, rebuild the trust that the people of New York once had in their government.

In my State of the State Address today, I laid out a blueprint for rebuilding New York – with fiscal reform, ethics reform and an economic development plan that helps businesses put our people back to work.

To watch the speech, and for more in depth information about these initiatives, please visithttp://www.ny.gov/governor/.

Fiscal Reform

To rebuild New York, we need fundamental fiscal reform that makes government more accountable to taxpayers. For too many years, Albany has spent recklessly and without any long-term strategy. My plan for fiscal reform includes real and lasting cuts to the bureaucracy; a merging of agencies that duplicate efforts; the public tracking of agency performance; and a long-term strategy for fiscal planning. In addition, I will deploy EmpireStat, a new program to track the performance of State agencies. And I will continue to advocate for major reform legislation that would cap the growth of State government spending.

Ethics Reform

My Reform Albany Act is driven not by the illegal actions of any one person, but instead by what is still legal and rampant throughout our entire system of government. The corrosive effects of outside influence and inside decay have bred cynicism and scorn from the people of New York. This Act will restore the trust that people expect and deserve.

Economy and Jobs

Fiscal and ethics reform will lay the foundation for our State’s economic resurgence, but to pull all of this together our State needs an economic development program that is suited to the times we live in and the jobs that the people of New York aspire to. My plan will restore New York’s economy to greatness, with a focus on New Economy jobs; a rebuilt manufacturing base; a modern energy infrastructure; and a commitment to helping New Yorkers lift themselves up.

We will replace the outdated Empire Zones with the Excelsior Jobs Program – a collection of three aggressive tax incentives focused on the New Economy growth jobs of the future. This effort will be strategic, cost-effective, and transparent. In order to help maintain New York’s position as the financial capital of the world, I have also proposed a bold initiative to revive the New York Insurance Exchange (NYIE), bringing together buyers and sellers of complex commercial insurance and providing increased transparency and security for everyone in the process. I have also proposed the Sustainable Neighborhoods Project to address the vacant housing crisis in Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Albany and other great cities across Upstate New York. Finally, rebuilding New York’s economy means creating opportunities for all New Yorkers which is why I have made investment in MWBE’s a key piece of my overall economic development strategy.

Time and time again, New Yorkers have demonstrated the ability to rebuild and renew – that is the promise of the Empire State. My plan to rebuild New York will strengthen our State, grow our economy, and get New Yorkers back to work.